Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour

A kind of golden hour one remembers for a life time… Everything was touched with magic

Margaret Bourke-White

Living on the coast as I do, I see my fair share of dramatic sunsets. Familiarity with my environment means I know roughly where the sun will set and just as equally where the sun will rise.

There’s a lot of references to the Golden Hour on the web. Google “Photography Golden Hour”, you’ll find somewhere in the region of 40 million hits. So what exactly is so special about the Golden Hour?

Typically, lighting is softer (more diffuse) and warmer in hue when the sun is near or below the horizon. As sunlight travels through more of the atmosphere, reducing the intensity of the direct light, more of the illumination comes from indirect light from the sky reducing the lighting ratio.

More blue light is scattered, so if the sun is present, its light appears more reddish – source Wikipedia.

In addition, the sun’s small angle with the horizon produces longer shadows.

If the sun is below the horizon, shadows are relatively non-existent.

As a landscape photographer, I find that my best photographs are taken during the Golden Hour because the warm colour of the low sun seems to enhance the colours of the scene.

Earlier I mentioned that familiarity with my environment meant that I knew where the sun would set and when. But what happens when I’m away in unfamiliar surroundings or in another country. That’s where a great little program called “The Photographers Ephemeris” comes into it’s own.

Golden Hour 7

Available for PC/MAC, IPad or Android, the Photographers Ephemeris helps me to plan my outdoor photography shoots using natural light. In effect it’s a sun and moon calculator, which allows me to see how the light will fall , day or night, for any location on earth.

Using this information, I knew that the sun would set behind this beach performer, meaning that I would be able to get a good silhouette of him in the evening.

Golden Light –  soft, warm, and magical. It gives a quality to images that can’t be beaten by filters or post processing…..

…..it’s free, and depending on weather, available every day. Twice.


18 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour

    1. Second attempt to comment, reply by email failed again…

      Hi Yvonne. That was a lucky photograph. I saw the bales earlier in the day, went back in the evening to photograph it. Next morning they were gone.


    1. Patti, thanks for taking the time to comment, it was such a good subject choice this week that I thought I’d do it justice and include a good few photographs.


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